DEAR READERS: Pet owners older than 70 who had chronic pain said their pets helped them relax, motivated them to stay active and promoted good habits that can relieve pain. This all suggests that pets may be part of a pain-management toolkit, researchers reported in the Journal of Applied Gerontology.
The survey group also cited expenses, care burdens and grief over losing a pet as sources of stress, and the researchers are studying alternatives to pet ownership, such as regular contact with pets in community settings. (Medscape/Reuters, 7/22)
Assisted-living facilities should allow incoming residents to bring their animal companions, depending on the pets’ condition and age, and provided the animals are seen by a veterinarian every six to nine months. Group-home veterinary services, including companion animal euthanasia, are available in many communities as mobile veterinary services become more popular and much needed for our aging population.
Dogs can be incredible catalysts socially and emotionally, notably in memory care units, where they help bring back happy dog-related memories from residents’ earlier years. Volunteers with their own easygoing dogs may wish to help out in their communities in this regard after securing a certification of good health, stable temperament and anti-rabies vaccination for their dogs from their veterinarians.
As for younger generations, adoption of rescued dogs and cats from local shelters seems to be trumping pure-breed and designer-breed commercial puppy mill purchasing. Much of the latter is stupidly done online, and many people have sent money and been defrauded.
Never buy a pup in a poke with a click of your mouse!
DEAR DR. FOX: I have three rescue chihuahuas -- 12, 12 and 9 years old. We got them all about three years ago. They eat 1/3 cup kibble and a little cooked chicken twice daily.
I have noticed that two of them are getting a little chubby, so after reading in your column about the many people who rave about your homemade pet food, I decided to make it. It made a lot, so I made patties and froze three in a pack.
My guys were transformed. They circled the kitchen cleaning each other’s bowls! And I will make more this week, as the first batch is almost gone! -- L.M., Boynton Beach, Florida
DEAR L.M.: I appreciate hearing how well your dogs have come to accept my home-prepared dog food recipe. (This is available to readers on my website, drfoxonehealth.com.)
Many people have reported increased energy and improved appetites in their dogs after being fed this recipe. Whole foods make for whole dogs!
Most importantly, in addition to regular exercise, there should never be any exertion soon after dogs have eaten (ideally two meals a day); otherwise, there is always the risk of sometimes-fatal gastric torsion (bloat), especially in deep-chested breeds. This condition is probably aggravated, if not triggered, by soy and other ingredients in manufactured dog foods.
A very strict feeding time should be followed, and the dogs be given time outdoors beforehand to evacuate as needed. Any change in their behavior, such as loss of appetite or seeming depressed, can be more easily noted when their daily routines are set by the clock.
Above all, dogs should be weighed every month when transitioning onto a new diet to determine if they need to be fed more or less, after a wellness examination where the veterinarian will determine if the dog needs to lose weight.
Obesity is an endemic human and dog health crisis in most developed countries; so are food allergies and ingredient intolerance-related health problems. When we know what we are eating, and feeding to our animal companions, we may know better health for all.
ANOTHER COMPANY RECALLS PIG EAR CHEWS FOR DOGS
The Lennox Group recalled Rawhide Express brand pig ear chews for dogs that were shipped to distributors and retail stores from May 1 to July 3, becoming the second company to do so amid an investigation into possible salmonella contamination. At least two dogs that ate Lennox’s pig ears became sick, according to a company statement.
The FDA made a strong statement regarding pig ear dog treats, “advising that consumers avoid all pig ear pet treats and retailers stop selling all pig ear treats at this time.” (CBS News, 7/29 and 8/2)
For more, visit: truthaboutpetfood.com/fda-issues-pig-ear-dog-treat-warning/
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)